White River (Bull Shoals Tailwater)

(updated 4-20-2016) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the water is full of moss and the generators are rolling at nine to 10 strong. Trout fishing has been excellent on PowerBait, pink worms and stickbaits.

(updated 4-13-2016) Cotter Trout Dock said river levels for the past week have been generally in the one- to three-generator (fairly low) range. Each guide has their own preference for what works best for them, but they have mostly been taking out Power Bait and shrimp for rainbow trout. Lures, minnows and sculpin have been the best bet for brown trout. Weather has been cool in the mornings and warming up beautifully.

(updated 4-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service (870-453-2424) said last week, the White River saw moderate generation with no wadable water. The bite has been a bit slow. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (size 8-10), Y2Ks (size 12-14), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead, size 16-18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite is a hot fluorescent pink or cerise San Juan worm with a hare and copper suspended below it). It is time for the big caddis hatch, which usually provides the best dry fly fishing of the year. I have observed a few caddis on the White and have had a report of a decent hatch at Rim Shoals. These are decent-sized flies, about size 14. Before the hatch, fish prince nymphs. When you see top-water activity but no insects, switch to a green butt or a partridge and orange. When you see trout taking adults from the top, switch over to an elk hair caddis. The best bet for large trout has been to bang the bank with large articulated streamers delivered with heavy 24- to 30-foot sink tip lines (350 grains or heavier). You will need an 8- or 9-weight rod. This is heavy work, but the rewards can be great.

North Fork River (Norfork Tailwater)

(updated 4-6-2016) Berry Brothers Guide Service  (870-453-2424) said the Norfork Tailwater saw some wadable water last week, but it fished very poorly. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (size 18-22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead), and soft hackles (size 14-16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise, size 10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis). The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday. My favorite combination has been a cerise worm with a Sunday special dropper.